First: So long as their lives were in danger, I didn't want to crack wise. But now that the Russian sailors have thankfully been saved, perhaps I can ask: Am I the only American who, upon hearing about Kamchatka, thinks, "Risk! Cool!"?
(Actually, I don't think I've ever played Risk. We have an old set in the basement somewhere, but it's a bit too complicated for me. Says the Stratego-lover.)
Anyway, I wanted to follow up a bit on the OU stuff below. But two interesting related points caught my eye:
The Forward this week featured a letter from someone named David Blatt, in Chicago. No problem there- it's a national paper. Mr. Blatt has issues with anti-withdrawal people, especially as those nasty Orthodox kids have no respect for property and put up orange ribbons everywhere. OK, perhaps a bit impolitic or un-PC, but understandable.
But then: The Jewish Week, which despite our lapsed subscription, won't stop sending us issues, also featured a letter from a David Blatt in Chicago (and in a local New York paper!). This time, Mr. Blatt was a good deal less PC. In fact, this time, he actually called for anti-disengagement soldiers to be lined up and shot. I kid you not- check it out. And the Jewish Week published it.
But I lost faith in that paper last week, when I discovered they'd run a cover story (and two pages inside) puff piece on a band headed by the editor in chief's son. Did they mention that fact? Ha!
Anyway, point two: I looked at a map of Gaza and noticed something interesting. There are three "isolated" Jewish settlements, one a bit close to a bloc. The rest of the settlements are in a large bloc in the south, and another, smaller bloc, in the north, right on the Israeli border. One may then ask: Why withdraw from the northern ones at all? Just extend the border a bit south! But no: You see, that's where Sharon's buddy and his Saudi investors will be building their casino. I guess they don't expect Jews to travel all the way across Gaza for it.
Disgusting. And the neocons at National Review (about whom much more later) are cynical about Bibi. Ha. Bibi isn't perfect, but at least he's not a crook.
Anyway, a couple of points about the OU situation:
In the previous post, I mentioned my idea that religion, in theory, is supposed to inform most political stances- certainly for a religious organization. Now you can posit that Orthodoxy doesn't have a definite point of view on, say, taxes. I'd disagree, but that's a valid position. But certainly there are others where religion has a great deal to say.
And yet the OU shies away from such matters. Why? Well, there's this bigwig there- let's call him Mem Aleph, which aren't his initials but seem to be his favorites. He's a polisci professor, and seems to value process above results. He's the type who loves to play with Robert's Rules of Order and resolutions and seconding and all that- even in the youth division. So why come to a resolution on Gaza if we can just argue about it? Nor is it just him: This seems endemic to a number of those responsible for such matters at the OU.
However, he's more dangerous in another way: He's hopelessly committed to liberalism or, to be generous, perhaps to just the Democratic Party. (Granted, he used to work for them.) His positions on a number of issues, both domestic and foreign (most notably the matter of Pollard) are quite at odds with that of much of the membership. And yet he seems to have kissed the Blarney Stone or talked to a genie or something, because his hold over the organization is quite firm. And so we get pareve declarations and responses.
(Parenthetically, I've long observed that many of the biggest Democratic partisans- not necessarily liberals, but often so- in the Orthodox world are also the most parochial and racist kikes. Ask them to defend their stance on abortion, for example, and more often than not [and probably not because they wrongly think they're sinking to your level] the most vile things about non-Jews will come to their lips.)
Where was I? Oh, yeah: One more problem. It seems to me that the most active members of the RCA, at least for communal issues like these, tend to be the oldest, the ones educated in the 40's and 50's and still in love with FDR, and, by extension, Howard Dean. Conservatism from these people? Ha!
And, as it happens, you often see a real attachment to labor Zionism (including socialist religious Zionism) among these folk. That's all they really knew growing up, and all there was until the late 70's. This may spill over to their views on the US (or vice versa), and may be partially due to a siege mentality defense of Israel at all costs (again, or vice versa), but I think a good deal of the "It's not our place to criticize"- which, granted, is sometimes correct- can be tied to these views. Again, I'll try to elaborate on my neocon post, which I hope to have up shortly.